Nigerians need living wage not minimum wage – Reps

The House of Representatives has demanded a living wage for Nigerian workers insisting that the Federal Government’s proposed minimum wage is no longer realistic.

The lawmakers however condemned the labour union on their approach during the two-day strike by shutting down the national grid and closing that nation’s airports and the health sector.

Rep. Ali Jesi(APC-Gombe) had moved a motion in Abuja on Tuesday on the urgent need to consider the imperativeness of fixing a living wage for Nigerian workers to ameliorate current economic hardship.

Moving the motion, the lawmaker commended the Labour unions for their commitment towards negotiating a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers at such a critical period and resolved to call off the strike in the interim.

He said that in line with Section 3(4) of the Act, the extant minimum wage which commenced on April 18, 2019 has expired after five years on April 18, 2024.

He however called for a further review of the existing Act.

Contributing to the debate, Rep Aliu Madaki (NNPP-Kano) noted that what the Nigerian workers needed was a living wage and not a minimum wage.

He added that the Federal Government should be able to pay the living wage considering the economic situation in the country.

Rep. Kingsley Chinda, the minority leader of the House said, Can we say as a leader we have carried out the purpose of governance which is hinged on security and the welfare of the people.

“Have we provided these basic need which is our primary purpose of being elected, can someone who is earning N50, 000 depend on such with the high cost of House rent,?”

According to him, we must be realistic by providing living wage for workers, it is sad that the government is proposing a minimum wage.

He however cautioned the labour union not to overstep boundaries, adding that switching off national grid was not in the interest of the people they are fighting for.

“Some people are on life support at the hospital; some were at the airport to board flight but could not make it due to the strike.”

He urged the lawmakers to expedite action on the yet to be proposed minimum wage amendment bill once it was brought before the lawmakers.

“Let us pass the minimum wage bill with the speed at which we pass the national anthem, the bill should be recalled and pass with the speed of light.”

Rep. Stanley Adedeji (APC-Oyo) said following the shutting down of the national grid as a result of the strike, there was need to criminalise such act of shutting down the grid.

According to him, you cannot go on industrials action and kill people.

Rep Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps who presided over plenary said that people who were on essential services should not go on strike.

He said that the act frown against such act, adding that it was against the law for electricity workers, hospitals, airports among others to go on strike.

He added that embarking on strike by those mentioned could have a negative effect and disrupted activities.

Adopting the motion, the House urged government to redirect the focus of the negotiations from fixing a new minimum wage to fixing a realistic living wage for Nigerians;

The House further urged the government to further consider the downward review of electricity tariff, to reduce the suffering of Nigerians.

The House further refer the matter to the House Committee on Labour and Employment and get back to the House in one week


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